Artist brings Beethoven piano piece to bus station

15 August 2012

An artist has created a unique musical performance in Newcastle’s busiest bus station – with the help of a grand piano and passing passengers.

On Friday, 17 August, video artist Anton Hecht played a concert piano at Stand T in Haymarket Bus Station, used by three million people every year.

Passengers and passers-by were invited to play a handful of notes each from Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata, with their efforts building into an edited film.

They were helped by conductor/composer Andy Jackson, of the North East’s amateur Cobweb Orchestra, who was there to coach the volunteer performers.

The music event follows 2009’s Undercover Orchestra, filmed at Eldon Square Bus Station and since viewed by 200,000 people on You Tube.

Anton said: “The final work will be a video with many players pulled from the street and filmed contributing a note or a bar to the Moonlight Sonata. The music will come alive when these are edited together."

The event was made possible by bus station manager Nexus through its Art on Transport programme, with grant support from Arts Council England and FACT, the foundation of Art and Creativity.

Huw Lewis, Head of Communications at Nexus, said: “We loved the idea of putting a grand piano in Haymarket bus station for passengers to play a few notes on, and we’ve been helping Anton stage this event as part of our Art on Transport programme.

“Hopefully the finished film will showcase both the musical talents of bus users and the recently-refurbished bus station at Haymarket.”

Haymarket Bus Station was refurbished last year by owner Newcastle City Council with a new roof, floors and improved waiting areas and passenger information.

The award-winning Undercover Orchestra film featured members of the Cobweb Orchestra performing a ‘flash mob’ version of Ravel’s Bolero to startled passengers at Eldon Square Bus Station.  The idea has since been imitated by a professional orchestra in Denmark.

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